Just One Drop

Because I have Celiac Disease, I have to be vigilant in looking out for possible sources of gluten (bread being the most obvious).  This also forces me to plan ahead where anything edible is concerned, so I am certain to have food I can eat when the need arises.  Even communion poses a problem for me if I haven’t planned ahead.  I know Jesus is fine with me skipping the bread part, if need be, but I’d rather partake fully.

As part of a wonderful worship service at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, communion was served.  I had come prepared with my little piece of corn cracker to take when the others had regular matzo.  I was safe . . . or was I?  When the elements were being passed down the rows, I realized the people were reaching over the little wooden goblets on the tray to pick up their piece of bread.  Since only one crumb dropped into the cup would create a problem for me, I kept my eye on the cups farthest away from the bread.  Reaching for one of those safe cups, I hesitated a moment when it looked like they were almost empty.  Since it was my only choice, however, I picked up the cup.

As the elements continued to be distributed, I considered more carefully what I had in my hands.  When I looked at that single drop of wine in the bottom of my goblet, I sensed the Lord reminding me, “It only took one drop.” Wow!  Jesus only had to shed one drop of His perfect, sinless blood to cover all our sins . . . but He gave so much more than was required.  He gave it all!  Superabundant sacrifice!  Superabundant forgiveness!  Superabundant mercy!  Superabundant grace!  Superabundant love!  For you.  For me.

Ephesians 3:17-19 AMP  17 May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, 18 that you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; 19 [that you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!

The Eyes Have It

It was quiet in the house in that early morning hour, and my dog and I were in our regular positions for my prayer and Bible time – I on the couch, and Sandy on the carpeted floor next to me.  As usual, he was facing away from me.  As usual, to pet him required me to reach, barely able to touch the back of his head.  Sometimes, I really want to pet him face-to-face, looking into his beautiful golden-brown eyes while he looks into mine.  This was one of those mornings, and I was a little frustrated that he wouldn’t give me his face.  Then I sensed Holy Spirit giving me the bigger picture.

I have been like Sandy so often with my heavenly Father, Who yields to my will, even as I yield to Sandy’s preferences (most of the time).  What part of my heart does Sandy miss by facing away – even when he is near?  What part of the heart of Jesus do I miss because I look at all that is going on around me, when I could look at His face and into His eyes of love instead?

When I stop focusing on all the distractions, turning instead to focus on His face, everything else fades in importance.  His understanding of all my concerns becomes much clearer to me, simply because I have sought to know Him more.  The more I know Him, the more I know His love.  The more I know His love, the less room there is for fear of any kind (the root of my focus elsewhere), and the more I want to know of His love.  Also, the more I practice facing my Lord when I’m in those quiet times, the more I will seek His face during the remainder of my day.  It’s a wonderful circle!

Ephesians 3:17-19 AMP

17 May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love,

18 That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it];

19 [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!

Will I remain content to know Daddy’s love for me only to the extent I now know it?  Sandy feels somewhat trapped in those rare face-to-face encounters with me – wanting nearness, but on his terms.  Is it the same with me and my Lord?  Jesus came to set me free, that I might truly know my God as Abba, Daddy – with all His unending and unconditional love.  Oh, that I will seek His face so that His face of love will be reflected to others wherever I go!

Psalm 27:8  NIV  My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”  Your face, Lord , I will seek.

If / Then

Do you remember anything from geometry class?  Do you remember the phrase if / then statements?   The basic idea in an if / then statement is that when the information following the “if” statement is true, what follows the “then” statement should also be true.  For example, “If a=b, then b=a.”

Relate this to living life in Christ.  My if / then statement is “If God’s Word is working in me, then my life will be changed to reflect Christ.”  This became reality to me recently when I saw the result of God’s Word working change in me – not the result of all my working to change.  It took place, little by little, as I continued dwelling in what the Bible reveals of His amazing love.  At some point, without my notice, His love overtook my limited human love, and began flowing more freely through me.  It was simply God’s Word of love working in me, and it changed my life to reflect Christ more.

I have not come close to completing this course, so I continue to fill up on Christ and His love.  I find, however, that I think about others differently now.  Because of His Word working in me, when the old thoughts about people show up, I realign my thinking with my Father’s thoughts towards them.  Thinking His thoughts changes my words about them.  With His thoughts and words, my actions are also changed, and I’m likely to go out of my way for someone I’d have ignored before.  Isn’t this what Jesus did when He walked on this earth?  It was because He dwelled in the Spirit of God, which allowed the Spirit to work in and through Him as a man.

1 John 2:6 AMP  Whoever says he abides in Him ought [as a personal debt] to walk and conduct himself in the same way in which He walked and conducted Himself.

It all comes back to that if / then statement.  If we truly abide in God’s love (for us and others), then Christ will be seen in our lives.  The opposite is also true.  If there is no difference in our lives (in our thoughts, words, or actions), then we must not be abiding in the agape love of God.  If we remain self-centered, judgmental, critical, etc., we do not really know (do not abide in) the reality of God’s love.  God’s love is a life-changer.  Living in God’s love equals a life radically changed.  No radical life change equals not living in and grasping God’s love.

Ephesians 3:17-19 AMP 17 May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, 18 that you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; 19 [that you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!

We can never change ourselves to look like Jesus, no matter how hard we try, but God’s Word will change us as we simply dwell in Him.  Likewise, we can never love with His perfect love by our efforts.  Since, however, His love was already poured into our hearts when we were born again (Rom. 5:5), when we dwell in Christ’s love, then the love of Christ will be reflected in us.